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@kirstenalana / Kirsten Alana • Photographer

Photos and videos by kirstenalana

Just landed in the City of Angels and I’m so excited for a weekend of no work, just bumming around with @dante.vincent. This week was bizarrely brutal work-wise so we haven’t planned much for the next two days other than just enjoying each other’s company. With one awesome exception and something that’s been on my California bucket list for as long as I can remember — Danté made a reservation at an Airstream in Venice with a HOT TUB 🔥😍 SO. EXCITED. !! • If you’ve been to Los Angeles, or live here, what are some of your favorite places to go or things to do here? We’ve been here so many times together and I’ve come for work often enough, that I feel like I’m ready to really dig in, doing the things which are not on the tourist trail 😉
So @dante.vincent has flown to Los Angeles and on Friday I’ll be joining him for a little vacay. I basically have no greater motivation in going except that it affords me the chance to eat more @saltandstraw ice cream 😝😍 (I’m only partially kidding!) That *might* be because it was 70F in New York City today — which is crazy — and all I can think about is that it’s warm enough for ICE CREAM! 🍦Who am I kidding, it’s always ice cream time. But today it REALLY felt like ice cream time. I first discovered Salt & Straw during a work trip to Portland many years ago, before they expanded down to California and up to Washington. An awesome side effect of my job is that I often get to meet the owners and makers that are behind awesome brands which was exactly how I began my love affair with what’s in that cup. Kim & Tyler are as cool as their ice cream is delicious but the focus they have on community, small-batch creation and sourcing local ingredients to make a product by hand, is what really sets them apart. 🍦 Are there any food brands you’ve discovered during your travels that you just can’t get over? Do you love ice cream as much as I do? If you do, what are your favorites?? 🍦 Let’s crowdsource a guide to the best ice cream in the USA if not around the world with the comments in this post. 🍦 #saltandstraw #saltandstrawlarchmont #notsponsored #icecreameveryday #iscreamforicecream #shotoniphone7
Saved the proverbial best for last with this set of sunset moments from my #hostedstay at @fscostarica on @peninsulapapagayo. The first two images are from a special expedition to one of the @fourseasons villas that you can rent when you’re a guest. It was not rented for that particular evening and because it’s at the very end of the peninsula, the stay affords you both a view of sunrise and sunset each day. I had SO much fun photographing this house. You might remember that in Stories I showed the standalone tub that you can soak in while you watch sunset. It’s archived in my profile if you want to still see it! The sweetest FS employee, Errol, took me up to the villa and I really enjoyed talking with him about the differences between Costa Rica and the USA, before we eventually enjoyed the view in contemplative, grateful silence. Don’t worry though if you can’t rent it, there are two beaches on the resort that serve almost the same purpose with one giving guests a sunrise view and the other, sunset. The timelapse video that comes next when you Swipe Left was created on my @apple iPhone at the sunset beach and the rest of these images were taken with my #sonya7rii with @vanguardworld VEO tripod. When you visit, make sure you walk along the beach allllllll the way to the right. Because of the curve of the peninsula, sunset will last the longest for you when you do that and you’ll also find these gorgeous reflections in the pools of water that collect in the rocky area of the shoreline there. It’s worth the extra time to walk back when you’re done! Though really, you can’t go wrong anywhere on this property. It recently re-opened after an extensive renovation and though I didn’t see it before to compare, I know what’s there now has made it one of my favorite #fourseasonsresort properties. 🌴🌅 #fspuravida #fscostarica #sunsetsforbreakfast #sunsethunters #shotoniphonex #vanguardworld
Can’t stop won’t stop raving about the this balcony on my suite at @fscostarica from my #hostedstay this week! 😝 This airy space is screened in, so you can sit with all the benefit of being outside, enjoying a gorgeous view but with no worry of pesky monkeys or mosquitoes or anything uninvited coming in. Though who am I kidding, a visiting monkey would have been adorable - for a minute! 🐒 And I think I loved this particular space as much as I did because it also reminded me of the Vermont house that I grew up in. It was not on the water but in the middle of a large tract of land where we’d sit and watch lighting storms from the comfort of an enormous screened-in porch. For me it just reinforced that theme @fourseasons has, of wanting you to feel like you’re coming home when you visit. I rave about them not because they’re paying me to, because they’re not though they did host me, but because they’re genuinely a brand I love even more with each of their properties I am able to visit. Now about that gorgeous view though, I’m sorry I’m not showing you that and you have to look at me instead. Because it’s currently dry season on @peninsulapapagayo in Costa Rica, the tree that’s in front of this room actually looks dead in photos. Not just dormant. In person it’s so different and afforded such a wonderfully clear view of the hummingbird that visited the first morning. But in photos it just wasn’t the same. Thank goodness for all the palm trees on the property that never lose their green fronds. The rest of the resort still looks like a veritable garden of Eden, so swipe left to see what I mean 😊🌴🌸 #fscostarica #fspuravida #fourseasonsresort #costarica #peninsulapapagayo #deltamedallionlife
Just a simple moment, listening to the waves and enjoying the warm breezes, on one of the two beaches at @fscostarica during my #hostedstay this week. I was always on the beach early to shoot product for clients, so as not to disturb guests of the resort later on when the chairs started filling up. And yet it was amazing to me that no matter how early I had my toes in the sand, there were always a few people who had already staked their claim on beds or beach chairs. I mean why not?! That’s what you go on an actual vacation for, yes? I know I would!! And while I tend to travel for cultural reasons more than relaxation, I can’t deny that being such a huge fan of @fourseasons going back to the earliest days of my career as a travel photographer, their resorts are the first place I think of for relaxation. What about you, could you enjoy a day here just relaxin, maxin and maybe drinking one of those cocktails with edible flowers that I talked about in my last post? 😝 #fscostarica #fspuravida #peninsulapapagayo #beachlifeforme #deltamedallionlife #shotoniphonex
How was your Valentine’s Day? ❤️ I’ve often heard it said that food is love and if that’s true then the staff at @fscostarica love their guests very much!! During my #hostedstay, I found that the zeal & passion that goes into food prep, service and delivery is off the charts. From Roberto, who went out of his way to spend time showing me how the 6 bartenders on staff make the CR6 cocktail with dry ice, to @kirsten.cowles who had dinner with me to the bewildered staff who worried over me at breakfast each morning wanting to make sure my Huevos Racheros were perfect (which they always were!!!!) - there was never a doubt in my mind that food was just a physical manifestation of love. It proved you don’t have to be in a relationship just to feel loved. But we all know that already, right? 😉 I’m grateful for what’s often called a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ in the USA because it’s the day I met @dante.vincent 5 years ago. Yet I do think Valentine’s Day places an overemphasis on love only in the terms of romance. Like @theblondeabroad said in her latest post, if you can’t love yourself first or you can’t find love outside being part of a couple, then.... • #FSCostaRica #FSPuraVida #whatsforbreakfast #foodtravel #foodieforlife #sonya7rii #fourseasons #fsfoodie #peninsulapapagayo
Good morning again from my #hostedstay at @fscostarica on #peninsulapapagayo! 🌴 One of the things that I’ve always loved about @fourseasons is the intimacy and feeling of comfort I find at each location I visit, no matter the physical size of the resort or how many rooms there are. I was talking last night with @kirsten.cowles and she said it’s because they want you to feel like you are being welcomed home when you check in. It’s so fitting in a country like Costa Rica where people are so genuinely friendly and warm that the country itself feels like it’s welcoming you home when you visit. Though this property has two beaches, three pools and well over 100 rooms - the same feeling I’ve come to expect is present here just as I hoped it would be. The overall design has so many spots like this that you can make your own for however long you’re here. Whether you’re a “wake up early and claim your beach chair before breakfast kind of person” or whether you’re a “claim it whenever” kind of person. This photo is of the aptly nicknamed “quiet pool” and it’s my place in case you’re wondering 😉 Now after I finish breakfast I think I’m going to see about going on one of the hikes Kirsten was mentioning last night....more on that, and the rest of the things I’m discovering on Stories of course. #fscostarica #fspuravida #fourseasons #costaricapuravida
What a Monday! Good morning from my #hostedstay @fscostarica on #peninsulapapagayo where I woke up to the sounds of the ocean and nearly cried from happiness. The cold at home in NYC was really getting to me more than I even knew. So rather than hurry to breakfast this morning, I decided to slow down and stay awhile. I used my in-room coffee maker and slipped into my @ethicalsilkco robe — that I carry with me whenever I travel so I have something from home — and I sat on my balcony to just soak in the warm breezes and listen to the waves. And in “you can’t make this up even if you try” news, a little hummingbird came to visit the tree right in front of my room and stayed almost the whole time I savored that cup of coffee!! 😳 😃 I think I am already in love with #fscostarica #fspuravida 😍 #costarica #morningslikethese • Oh and my #theethicalsilkcompany robe was a gift from the brand whom I love because of how they ethically source their silk and then donate 10% of profits to charity. Plus it’s sooo soft and cozy!
So thrilled to be writing this from @jfkt4 where I’m boarding a @delta flight to Costa Rica. Just 2 days ago I thought I might not be traveling till a few weeks from now but SURPRISE a last minute assignment fell into my lap and off I go! 😍 I love seeing the world from a plane window, like in the moment I snapped this shot last year on approach into JFK. I always wonder exactly what’s below and what people’s lives are like — from the smallest questions like, what are those white cylinders in this photo, anyone know?? ... to would I be happier living near those mountains below me — and I love the feeling I get just before experiencing anything new. SUCH a high! Curiosity is one of my biggest motivators and that’s why I love traveling. Though I’ve been to Costa Rica before, I have not been to the area I’ll be getting to know over the next few days...the area that is home to @fscostarica 🌴 #skymileslife #flydelta ✈️ #upintheair #theworldfromabove #DeltaMedallionLife
In lieu of the usual amount of travel work that often fills my days and weeks, (though I’m excited that I’ll be returning to traveling soon!) - I’ve tried to come up with other subject matter to shoot that’s fun for me and still inspired by my love of travel. Enter today’s #francophilefriday Valentine’s Day gift guide. ❤️🇫🇷 1) My new favorite item of clothing tops the list, this sweatshirt by @clarevivier which is obviously French-inspired, as is everything she makes, but Made In America. LA in fact. There’s even a hand-stitched French flag on one cuff! 2) A @diptyque candle because I’ll never forget the first time I walked into one of their Paris boutiques and smelled their candles for the first time. 3) And since I can never get through a plane ride without copious amounts of moisturizer, a few tubes of @loccitane lotion with @riflepaperco embellishment {one of my favorite brand collabs of the last few years, they’re offering a gift with purchase in @loccitaneusa stores through Feb 11} then, 4) basically anything from inside the jewelbox that is a @trudon1643 boutique. Their candles and perfume have a French heritage dating back to the 1600s! I was so excited to discover them last week with Susan of @thefrancophiles! And they too have a gift with purchase in their NYC boutique through Sunday. Last, but certainly not least, 5) a gift for Francophile bibliophiles: books about Paris by my uber talented friends 📚 #TheNewParis from @lostncheeseland, #ParisInBloom by @georgiannalane and #ParisInColor by @nicholerobertson. Grateful to L’Occitane and Cire Trvdon for the #gifts included in this list. All other items I purchased myself. #valentinesdaygiftideas #thefrancophiles #clarevivier #diptyquecandle #loveloccitane
Did anyone else watch the @spacex Falcon Heavy launch LIVE yesterday? Or have you seen replays of it? I watched it LIVE and I’m still thinking about it this morning. All of my life I’ve heard “the sky is the limit” but that’s not true anymore is it? (Was it ever?) If private citizens can create space companies and successfully send a red sports car into space just as a stunt, what else can happen in our lifetime?! 🚀 The sky will be just the beginning, there’s going to be no such thing as limits anymore... • So let’s dream big!! What’s the biggest dream you have? What’s stopping you from pursuing it?
Congratulations @jlaurenh32 you are the winner of the giveaway for two round-trip tickets to @visitscotland on @delta!!!! 🎉🎁🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 • And to the 300 + people who also entered, you need to know that for me, and the team of people who helped me, making this decision was not easy by any means. I picked 5 finalists and a team voted for the winner from there. But as you know if you messaged me or kept checking my feed, it took me DAYS to narrow it down to just five. And it was so hard because I wanted to award you all. Pouring over your entries told us that there are MANY of you deserving of such a gift. From people with ALS to military couples who haven’t had a honeymoon and former Delta employees as well as all my fellow Outlander fans. Doing this giveaway showed how large is the worldwide love for Scotland and how wonderful it is to share an affinity for a place in a time where so much about humanity seems driven by choosing sides. I’m glad we can all be united in loving Scotland 😉🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 I have to give special thanks to @visitscotland and @delta as well for allowing me to host this #sponsored giveaway. It’s a large amount of money and resources to give away but they trusted me and trusted that I have an audience who would be excited by this. I think, and hope, I proved them right. And the only way to be able to do such a giveaway ever again is to have the kind of engagement that attracts a brand to want to partner in this way. For all of you, because I want to give you amazing opportunities, I hope we have achieved that together. Because I don’t have a trust fund and I’m not rich - I’m just a working photographer who wants to share travel with you and I need partners to do that. So cheers to hopefully more of that in the future, or as they say in Scotland: Sláinte! 🥃 #ScotSpirit
I’ve gotten a lot of messages asking about the winner of the Scotland contest and there were so many good entries that I’m STILL making my way through them. I promise to have news early in the week!! • Last night @dante.vincent & I had a rare type of date night where we did two things for the first time together. Like so many couples, we have our routines and our things we often do over and over but this time we opted to take the subway to Chinatown to walk over the Manhattan Bridge at sunset in order to capture photos at this specific spot. It’s a popular one to feature on @instagram so I’m by no means being original in sharing it, yet it is new for me. I’d never been in all these years! Afterward we walked to Eldridge and I introduced Danté to the wonders of $2 dumplings at Vanessa’s. I used to go all the time before he and I met. It was fun to find they are as tasty as ever! As for the Manhattan Bridge, it was the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, following the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg bridges. It first opened to traffic in 1909 and was completed in 1912. On the Manhattan side, there’s an elaborate stone entrance to the bridge that was created as part of the “City Beautiful” movement of 1915 and while it is gorgeous, apparently traffic engineers regularly want it removed. Go figure! 🗽🍎 #kaNYguide #sonya7rii #sonyalpha #newyorkcity #newyorkornowhere #manhattanbridge #slowshutter
*GIVEAWAY CLOSED* Congrats @jentemple 💕 Since @dante.vincent brought me coffee & it’s my birthday, I’m staying in bed late this morning but I’ve got one more gift FOR YOU in the form of another #giveaway! 💗✨ Ever since I discovered Luxe & Bloom, I’ve loved their chic gift boxes and their commitment to donating a portion of each purchase to charity. I was so excited when they sent me the most lovely navy box with some of my favorite @riflepaperco products inside and then offered to send a box to one of you!! • To enter: 1) Follow @kirstenalana and @shopluxeandbloom 2) Comment on this post and tag two friends! Recipient will be able to pick any box $75 & under from the site. #giftgorgeously • Rules and details: This giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. No purchase is necessary to enter. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Open to USA followers with a valid mailing address. Giveaway period begins as of the time this post is live. Recipient will be chosen, from those who have followed the rules, by Monday morning and notified through DM. By entering, you agree to release and hold harmless all sponsoring parties from any and all liability, litigation or damages. Sponsors reserve the right to cancel this contest at any time. • Oh and I know 3 giveaways in less than 2 weeks is a lot but what can I say, I LOVE to give. Speaking of, still working my way through all the entries for the 2 flights to Scotland; sooo many good entries!! 💛
Just 10 hours left to enter to win a pair of round-trip tickets on @delta! Giveaway details & entry in my last post! • I’ll be out and about today for meetings and appointments in the City but I really enjoy reading your entries as they come in! Sharing this photo I shot on a date night with @dante.vincent to Rockefeller Center. Of all the places you can get up high over #newyorkcity, I think this is my favorite because of details like the metalwork that’s framing that view of the Empire State Building. I’m such an architecture junky that things like that always make me happy. It’s not just about the view for me. Then again, if you like cities you can’t go wrong with any of the views of New York from above. I also like @oneworldnyc, especially at sunset! Wherever you choose to go, I recommend splurging for the VIP passes. It’s worth it to skip all the crowds and lines to get right to the top and then have more time to enjoy yourself. • Have you been to NYC and seen it from above? If so, where? #newyorknewyork #kaNYguide #nyfromabove #newyorkornowhere
*GIVEAWAY CLOSED* SO THRILLED to be able to #giveaway TWO roundtrip tickets to Scotland on @delta from anywhere in the U.S., Canada or Europe! You probably already know how @VisitScotland is one of my favorite countries & I always #flyDelta to get there. That’s why I was so glad to go LIVE from the Scotland event I co-hosted on Friday night; even if I couldn’t have you there with me, I wanted you to be able to learn more about why I love it. The ultimate way to really fall in love though is to go there yourself! • So enter to do just that by commenting on this post! In your comment, you must 1) tag or mention the person you’d take if you won, and 2) share something relevant! For example, maybe you already love Delta and Scotland like I do, but why? Or maybe you learned something about Scotland through my LIVE video Friday night or you learned something from following my previous trips to Scotland. • Be creative! This is for TWO roundtrip tickets to Scotland from anywhere in the U.S., Canada or Europe!! • Rules and details: This giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. No purchase is necessary to enter. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 21+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Open to those with the ability to travel to Scotland from a Delta gateway in U.S., Canada or Europe. Booking restrictions apply and due to capacity controlled flights, flexibility of travel dates may be necessary. You will be responsible for any taxes in effect at the time of the ticket issuance, as required by law. Once issued, tickets are non-transferable, non-reroutable, and the validity may not be extended. Change fees may apply. Giveaway period begins as of the time this post is live. Winner will be chosen, from those who have followed the rules, within 48 hours and notified through DM. By entering, you agree to release and hold harmless all sponsoring parties from any and all liability, litigation or damages. Sponsors reserve the right to cancel this contest at any time.
Amazing how much all of you love donuts! The comments on yesterday’s post were so fun to read through, I loved them all!! And I’ll announce a few winners tomorrow 😉 But today starts the #NYTTravelShow here in #newyorkcity. It’s the 15th year for this event and while today is for the Trade and Media, starting tomorrow it’s open to the public. Anyone who registers can get in to the Javits Center where you’ll be able to meet representatives from almost every country on earth and get information from companies and brands that help you plan or book travel. There are more than 500 exhibitors. There are performances, talks, panels, culinary delights, and displays that will stoke your wanderlust! It’s one of my favorite weekends every year! Let me know if you’re planning to be there and maybe we will run into each other! Oh and keep your eye out for a special LIVE video tonight from an event I’m co-hosting with my friends at @visitscotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Confession: the hardest part about being self employed, is discipline. Without meetings/bosses/the necessity of earning the right to that paycheck that just comes like clockwork, it isn’t always easy to be motivated enough to GET SHIT DONE. Especially when bed is so comfortable and you love sleep so much and technically, actually, you can do a lot of your work from bed anyway. 😝 So this morning I decided to have a little fun with the idea of #stayinginbed by challenging myself to create a self portrait with a mission: to share with you the news about @sezane #DEMAIN which is a new effort by the French brand to raise money for charity that includes donating the profits from sales for one day every month, the 21st. They’re not paying me to promote it, I’m doing it because it fits so perfectly into my primary mission for 2018 which is DOING GOOD in whatever way I can. I’m putting the #linkinprofile that will help you learn all about this. #demaincommenceaujourdhui 💖 AND if you’ve read this far, I have a special treat for you. Since I did say 2 posts back that when I returned to Instagram, I’d bring donuts, I’m bringing 🍩🍩🍩 to two followers; one from Canada & one from the USA. All you have to do is have a valid mailing address + comment telling me that you’d like to win! This #giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram, Sézane or anyone else. It’s 💯 paid for and sponsored by me. 💗😘 Congrats to @sarahschuy & @k2edm for your amazing heart to share donuts with others and not just keep them to yourselves.
On first glance it’s just a photo of a city. New York City. Look closely and you’ll see so much more in the crowd that’s filtering through this intersection in Manhattan. It was taking some of the most rewarding photos of my life in this city yesterday, that’s brought me back! 💗 Raise your hand if you were also present yesterday somewhere in the world for #womensmarch Or were you marching here in New York? #womensmarchnyc #womensmarch2018 I focused on taking photos, interviewing people and sharing live on Twitter as I got to know as many people as possible, taking as many portraits as possible. And I published photo essays on my blog as well as @medium in case you’d like to see what the March was about. #linkinprofile of course 😉 💗 Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. 🙏🏼 What have you been up to while I was taking a break?
While @dante.vincent has continued to share beautiful photos from our beginning of the year vacation in Rome, that I hope you’ll check out, I’ve continued to feel rattled every time I look at my camera roll. Having been robbed and then having had a difficult time with our AirBnB host with no support or kindness from @airbnb...and then sickness and loss of some jobs I’d had high hopes for, has left me feeling like a brittle leaf in a Fall wind. • I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back to this community with excitement and joy. But I know I will. Eventually. Since the month @instagram was founded this has always been my favorite place online. The place I loved most. The place that was more like a true community for me than any other app or site. The place I was telling everyone else to come to because it was the best, long before it was as popular as it is now. • Keep my seat warm for me? I will be back. And maybe I’ll bring donuts.
Do you have any favorite books about Italy? Italo Calvino was a Cuban-born Italian writer and journalist. If you have not read any of his books, I challenge you to add them to your list. And be prepared to be sucked into a world that’s engrossing and fantastic. He died when I was a little girl but his words from ‘Invisible Cities’ and ‘If on a winter’s night a traveler’ brought the world alive for me in a way only a handful of other authors have. In particular while @dante.vincent & I were in Roma, I kept thinking of the quote, “You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” Such a good one. So true of so many of my travels and the cities which I’ve been blessed to have explored. Oh and if you’re looking for other books about other parts of Italy, I read ‘The House at the Edge of Night’ on the plane ride to Roma and it was so good I could neither put it down nor go to sleep. I read till I finished it. Thank you for creating such a beautiful story @catherinebanner. 🇮🇹 • Photo taken with my @sonyalpha a7R II which I purchased last fall. If you’re looking to buy a camera in 2018, I highly recommend it and the RX1 RII. Sony does not sponsor me. #sonya7rii #sonyalpha #romaitalia #lovesroma #romacittaeterna #buongiornoroma #leadinglines #symmetrykillers